Analysis

Elephant in the Room: Who Replaces Rollins?

As you know by now, Jimmy Rollins is on his way to Los Angeles. After the dust clears, there will be baseball to play and a short stop position to field in 2015. So just what options do the Phillies have? Unfortunately, with a tight budget and no urgency to win in 2015, not many.

The Obvious Candidate

Freddy Galvis

Galvis, still just 25 years old, started 23 games for the Phillies at shortstop in 2014, mostly down the stretch when Rollins was on the disabled list. The Venezuelan’s best attributes early in his minor league career were defense and speed with both unfortunately seemingly deteriorating instead of improving. His disappearing speed is easy to pinpoint: Galvis’s 23 combined steals across two levels in 2011 compared to zero in 2012, four in 2013, and three in 2014. Saying Galvis’s defense has deteriorated is tougher to justify with numbers, although his FanGraphs’ defensive value has decreased each year since 2012, but he seems to have lost some of his unteachable range.

Galvis has never been much of a hitter but showed signs of improvement with Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year (.267/.322/.452 with 3 homers) and finished the season on a hot streak (.267/.313/.500 with three homers from September 9 on). The hot streak was particularly tantalizing compared to how he started the season (.048/.109/.048 through May 8, before his first demotion). Was Galvis’s showing in Triple-A and streak to end the year in Philly enough to win him the starting shortstop spot in 2015? It is genuinely hard to say. Even if the Phillies don’t want to be particularly competitive in 2015, they may be able to find someone better. They certainly won’t find anyone cheaper, however, as Galvis is in his final pre-arbitration year.

Outside the Box Internal Options

Odubel Herrera

Recognize his name yet? Herrera, 22, was taken in today’s Rule V draft. At 5’11”, 200 lbs, Herrera probably best profiles as an outfielder but had the best year of his career in 2014, playing mostly second base for Double-A Frisco, hitting .321/.373/.402. Herrera’s versatility should help him make an increasingly thin 2015 Phils squad but it is unlikely that he would win the starting shortstop role over Galvis or the following…

Cesar Hernandez

Hernandez, 24, started two games at shortstop for the Phillies in 2014 and is currently tearing it up in the Venezuelan Winter League. After showing signs of being able to get on base at the Major League level as a rookie in 2013, Hernandez seemingly took steps backwards in offensive development after being sent down to Reading and Lehigh Valley as he learned new positions.

The Veteran, Free Agent Options

Omar Quintanilla

Boy, that name feels like a Ruben Amaro if I have ever seen one. Veteran player? 33  years old, nine year vet, check. About as good or possibly worse than someone you already have? Check.

Quintanilla, 33, is a .220 career hitter across nine Major League seasons. He will likely be available for the league veteran minimum. It would not surprise me to see him invited to camp. Quintanilla, however, is not a solid option as a long- or short-term solution.

Danny Worth

Worth’s, 29, biggest moment as a professional baseball player was undoubtedly playing in the 2012 World Series with the Tigers. A career .230 hitter, Worth is pretty much the same player as Quintanilla but with better on-base skills. Like Quintanilla, Worth has been productive in the field over his career at preventing runs per FanGraphs in small sample sizes. Worth would be a slightly better option than Quintanilla and may be easier to sign because he has less veteran cache.

 

Despite their thinness at shortstop heading into 2015, the Phillies are generally well-stocked there otherwise. It may be top prospect J.P. Crawford‘s job to lose by mid 2016 with Arquimedes Gamboa and 5’5″ speedster Grenny Cumana in the development ranks.

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